In-State Talent Retention from 2002-2009

On the Darius White thread one poster did a little research looking at 5* player retention by some of the top teams over the past 5 years.  Some of us thought the sample size was a little small, so I ran through the Rivals 100 for the years they cover, 2002-2009.  I decide to pull only from the states that are recognized as football hotbeds and also have had a MNC contender in the state during this period. I ended up counting 67.25% of all the players ranked in the Rivals 100 by pulling from the following states (total number of Rivals 100 players in parens): Florida (120), Texas (107), California (102). Georgia (47), Ohio (34), Louisiana (33), Pennsylvania (32), Alabama (27), Michigan (20), and for sh*ts and grins OU (16).  I probably should have added Virginia just because VaTech has been a long-time contender, though I am not sure if the state would have even topped Michigan's 20.

We'll get to the big boys in a second, the retention rates varied quite a bit in the 7 second tier schools.  Here are the percentage of in-state Rivals 100 players retained by each school: UGA 49%, OSU 65%, LSU 79%, PSU 25%, Bama 59%, Mich 55%, OU 63%.  LSU had an incredible retention rate (OU's is less impressive considering the small number of top players), while Penn State's is horrific.  Bama was interesting in that the number of Rivals 100 kids in the state jumped a bit once Saban came on board!  Who knew great coaching trickled down.  Bama also had a much higher retention rate after Saban was on board.

Georgia's comparatively anemic numbers actually shadow the numbers for Texas and USC.  The three big states have their own stories but Texas and USC are suprisingly similiar.  UT retained 42% of the Rivals 100 athletes in Texas and USC retained 47% in California.  Florida is obviously different with 3 relatively recent powerhouses in-state.  UF retained 23% and FSU and Miami came in at an identical 21%.  The spread was as one would expect; Florida does better recently and FSU was dominant early.  Miami has been relatively consistent. While there are other programs in-state all but one of the remaining 35% left for out-of-state programs.

Here are the total numbers of Rivals 100 athletes retained by each program:



UF-28; Miami-25; FSU-25







Penn State-8

The SEC teams all are in similar territory, except Bama which if they continue to build on last year would make Saban's coaching job there much more impressive (at which point I will officially take him off of my overrated list).

I then looked at the poaching between these big programs.  Not surprisingly OU did the most poaching from these states with 24 Rivals 100 members coming from one of the other 9 states. Obviously most of the damage done was in Texas where they took 18 players (2 more than A&M during this period!).  Michigan and LSU were tied with 15. Five of LSU's takeaways came from Texas.  USC had 13 (surprisingly ND had the same number, which is probably why they are down).  Miami and FSU both had 10.  We only had 2, both in 2002 (Brian Pickryl and Chase Pittman), which isn't a big surprise.

Three things stood out to me.  One, by focusing on just Texas talent we stack up pretty well even when you add in out-of-state Top 100 talent that other schools are doing a better job of chasing.  OU only totals 34 Rivals 100 players from these 10 important states (OK, including Oklahoma itself is a stretch). Two, while it isn't a total surprise, USC's poaching was pretty impressive and while I was sure they easily out-distanced everyone for this period, the total might be even higher than I thought.  Its really amazing they only have one MNC (and two trips) to show for it.  Third, OSU, Florida, and Bama didn't do as much poaching as I would have thought (8, 6, and 2 respectively).

Obviously, this leaves out 4/5 of the rest of the country but they supply less than third of the top talent in the country, but the point of the exercise was to determine whether we were getting poached at a greater rate than our counterparts in other states.  I think we are in decent shape considering all the factors.

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